Time to Rethink Rice? (Arsenic in Rice)

A Simple Guide to Safely Consume Rice

Arsenic in Rice? Yes

Changes of Arsenic levels in rice compel us to rethink the amount of rice we eat, as well as the type of rice and where it is grown. More than ever we need to read labels if we are going to make choices that will have a positive effect on our health.

Rice consumption is rising. As more individuals are finding themselves gluten intolerant, we have seen a rice as a replacement for wheat products. In addition, many of us are sushi lovers. We would never have suspected something as benign and presumed healthy to contain Arsenic.

Arsenic exposure in small amounts leads to an increase the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer, as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. More recently, some studies are suggesting that arsenic exposure in utero may have effects on the baby’s immunological system.

Arsenic has been released into the environment through the use of many unnatural pesticides and as well as poultry fertilizer. The result of these practices is that more Arsenic is in our soil. The rice plant tends to absorb arsenic more readily than many other plants.

So what are the least safe rice products?

  1. Brown rice is less safe than white rice because the Arsenic builds up in highest levels in the skin of rice. Brown rice has 80 percent more inorganic arsenic on average than white rice.
  2. Rice from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Safer Rice:

  1. White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice.
  2. White rice from California have 38 percent less inorganic arsenic than white rice from other parts of the country like Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.
  3. Brown basmati rice from California, Pakistan and India have much less than other brown rice and has other nutrients so eat in moderation.

So how much rice can we eat in a week and keep our Arsenic levels low? Well the amount of Arsenic that is safe is debatable. Consumer reports has released a guide based on a 7 point system with suggested quantities. Here is a copy for your review.

Consumer Reports Guide: